I f you are wondering what the most important festivities in Madrid are, these are undoubtedly the Fiestas de San Isidro Labrador, the city's patron saint celebration.
These are days of great tradition, music, dancing and gastronomy, perfect for experiencing the true essence of the Spanish capital and getting to know the most festive facet of the city.
In this article we will give you all the details of the Festivities of San Isidro in Madrid: dates, typical activities and events, and where to stay in Madrid if you want to come and see them firsthand.
When are San Isidro's festivities?
The Fiestas de San Isidro are held every year in mid-May with several days of celebrations in a row.
However, the official date of the festival is the 15th of May, the Day of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of Madrid.
Where are the Fiestas de San Isidro?
The whole of Madrid is full of events during San Isidro, although the main venues are the Pradera de San Isidro, which gives its name to the patron saint, the Plaza Mayor, Matadero and the Vistillas Gardens.
Fiestas de San Isidro Programme
The Festivities of San Isidro programme combines traditional celebrations such as the pilgrimage in the Pradera de San Isidro meadow with a wide range of musical performances, concerts and shows around the city. These are some of the events you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the city during the festival:
Proclamation and Parade of Giants and Big-heads
This parade, which marks the start of the Fiestas de San Isidro together with the traditional proclamation, usually leaves from the Plaza de la Villa and goes all over the centre of Madrid. In addition to the typical parade figures, during these traditional shows it is common to see Madrilenians dressed in the chulapo or chulapa costume.
San Isidro Concerts in Madrid
Every year, during San Isidro, the streets are filled with free concerts by local and national folk, pop, rock and electronic artists.
Although the full programme of concerts for the Fiestas de San Isidro 2023 hasn’t been released yet, it is confirmed that the Primavera Sound festival will offer four performances on the Matadero Madrid stage on 15 May, while the Mad Cool festival has also scheduled several concerts on the 13th.
The Pilgrimage of San Isidro
This religious event is held every 15 May in the Saint's meadow. The pilgrimage begins with a mass in the Ermita de San Isidro, followed by a procession of the image of the saint.
This is followed by a popular festival in the meadow of San Isidro with typical music, cocido madrileño, chulapos, and traditional dances. There are also family workshops and shows for all ages. Zarzuela, chotis and other typical Madrilenian dances are definitely a highlight of the event.
Every year, Madrid's sky is lit up by fireworks launched from different parts of the city to mark the end of the festivities. There is no better plan than ending San Isidro with a show of light and sound!
Typical San Isidro food
San Isidro rosquillas, a type of doughnut, are probably the most popular gastronomic product during the festivities in Madrid, which is accompanied by a Madrilenian lemonade made from lemon, sugar, wine and fruit.
There are several types of rosquillas to choose from: the "tontas", which contain eggs, and the "listas", covered in icing sugar. There are also Santa Clara doughnuts, with white meringue, and French doughnuts, with almonds. Madrid's pastry shops will be full of these traditional tastes, so be sure to try them!
Find accommodation in Madrid for the San Isidro Fiestas
If you are going to be in Madrid during the Fiestas de San Isidro, we recommend you stay at Hotel Único, located in one of the most central and exclusive areas of the city, in the Barrio de Salamanca.
In our 5-star hotel in Madrid you will find all the peace and quiet you need after a day of celebration, and you will be just a stone's throw away from the main venues of the San Isidro Festival.
Stay in a luxury boutique hotel full of elegance, with all the comforts and services for you to have the best stay in Madrid. We have a wellbeing area where you can work out in the gym or enjoy a relaxing treatment, and the Michelin restaurant RFXM, where you will enjoy an unforgettable meal.